LUNINETS, 21 January (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko commented on the ICAO fact-finding report into the event involving Ryanair flight in Belarus airspace as he spoke to the media on 21 January, BelTA has learned.
According to the head of state, the ICAO admitted that there was no interception, forced landing or rerouting of Ryanair aircraft by Belarus. The president called the ICAO investigators heroic people: “They deserve some praise. Despite all the pressure (this is a UN organization and you know that we are on our own there) they had to admit that Lukashenko did not open fire at the aircraft, did not scramble a MiG fighter jet to force it to land. They are heroes by just stating these facts.”
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, this fact itself is already important for Belarus. The country does not expect anything more from the investigation for the time being. "If they are willing to prove otherwise, then they should present evidence. There is no evidence, and we see this. Now all ICAO member countries see this. You know who's calling the shots there. The best thing for them is to soft-pedal this thing, not to go any farther. Because the farther it goes, the messier it gets. Therefore, they'd better not do it. Nothing good will come out of this," the head of state emphasized.
The president is convinced that the whole world has already understood who was right then. "Now we are consulting with specialists. We will go to court. We have everything for this. We want them to pay for the damage they have inflicted on the country. Not only on Belavia, but on the country in general," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
As it has been reported, ICAO released the fact-finding report several days ago. The report was made available to all 193 ICAO member states, including the 36 states – current members of the ICAO Council. On 31 January, the Council will consider the report and take appropriate action, and will also look into Belarus' complaint against the illegal actions of several European countries that had imposed sanctions against the civil aviation of our country.
When commenting on the report, Director of the Aviation Department of the Belarusian Transport and Communications Ministry Artyom Sikorsky said that the fact-finding team admitted the evidence proving that Belarus did not intercept, force to land or reroute the flight by using a MiG-29 military jet. The ICAO fact-finding team noted that there were no visual signals from the flight and cabin crew and that there was no communication with the aircraft. This is the proof that there was no interception by the MiG-29.
According to him, the document emphasizes another important point which Belarus previously drew attention to. “The data of the aircraft crew conversations in the cockpit was not saved as the crew did not turn off the recorders after landing in Minsk. Thus, the crew did not save the data, including the moment when they were making the decision to land in Minsk. It looks strange,” Artyom Sikorsky stressed.